Following on from the success of 2016/17’s NYE celebrations, Wondergarden returns for a third year bigger & bolder than ever before, and now a loved fixture on the Auckland New Year’s Eve calendar. And if the first lineup is anything to go by, it looks like they’re turning the groove up to 11.
Featuring an eclectic lineup of local and international favourites, 2018’s event will be headlined by Leeds native Nightmares On Wax. As one of the most influential artists of a generation, Nightmares On Wax has paved the way for artists such as Flying Lotus, Hudson Mohawke and Mount Kimbie. The N.O.W DJ set will feature a perfect blend of longtime favourites and future classics, intended to create the feeling of hanging out in your best friend’s basement listening to your favourite music. N.O.W. will be joined on the lineup by epitome of funk Damon “DāM-FunK” Riddick. Growing up in the Los Angeles city/suburb of Pasadena and a ‘70s baby, he came of age in the era of the Uncle Jamm’s Army parties, of electro-pharaoh Egyptian Lover, of Prince’s purple reign. DāM-FunK’s groove laden set will ensure the Wondergarden dance-floor see’s out 2018 with one final gut-busting boogie.
Also on the bill - fusing elements of R&B, UK garage and 2-step with modern sensibilities and wide-eyed sincerity - are Melbourne’s Kllo; local purveyors of funk, dance & post-punk infused indie Cut Off Your Hands for their only worldwide show in 2018 in the leadup to a record release in 2019; charismatic rapper JessB who is quickly stamping her mark as the newest queen of hip hop in New Zealand; and dreamy Melbourne via Hamilton electronic / hip hop duo Fortunes. The event will also feature an early afternoon DJ set from local warrior princess-level selector Tina Turntables, famous for her mixed gumbo of old school R&B, Soul, Blues, Funk, Disco, Garage & Rock’n’Roll.
With three more exciting acts to be announced in the coming weeks, Wondergarden is fixing to be the only place Aucklanders will want to be when the clock strikes midnight as 2019 arrives. The New Year’s Eve event heads into its third consecutive year after a highly successful response to its debut and sophomore efforts. Wondergarden was conceived as a musical celebration to provide Aucklanders something a little bit special and different from what is currently on offer in the city over the holiday period.
This year see's the welcome return of an event that organisers are growing into one of the city’s essential summer dates. Located at Silo Park on the cusp of Auckland Harbour, Wondergarden’s main stage sits between the harbour bridge and the city’s best view of the Sky Tower's midnight fireworks display.
We’re very excited to be coming back for round three, for our biggest party yet," says festival director Reuben Bonner, "This year we’re lucky enough to have a world-class lineup of local and international acts all known for ensuring that the day/night is all about the dance-floor. Auckland city is going to have an incredible soundtrack playing when 2019 comes knocking.
As well as a full afternoon and evening of main stage musical entertainment, Wondergarden features New Zealand's favourite street food, on offer all day and night courtesy of the Food Space food trucks.
Nightmares On Wax
Nightmares on Wax is one of the most influential artists of a generation, his music has inspired many musicians and producers across the globe over his quarter decade career. As Warp’s longest serving active artist, he has broadened the sound of the label and paved the way for artists such as Flying Lotus, Hudson Mohawke and Mount Kimbie. The marriage of soul, hip-hop, dub and timeless club sounds that N.O.W. has been mutating and perfecting for years finds perhaps its most fluid form yet on Shape The Future. Energized by globetrotting runs of studio sessions and DJ sets, this latest salvo is a masterpiece of contemporary and classic genre-blending that solidifies Nightmares On Wax’s place as an inspirational electronic music figurehead. Wowing audiences across the globe in support of his latest album Shape the Future N.O.W. is showing no signs of slowing down. His DJ set will feature a perfect blend of longtime favourites and future classics, which is intended to create the feeling of hanging out in your best friend’ basement listening to your favourite music.
Damon "DāM-FunK” Riddick
Damon “DāM-FunK” Riddick is the epitome of funk. Ever since debuting with Stones Throw in 2008, Dam-Funk has become one of the genres most passionate proselytisers, out to save it from devilish depictions of cartoonish caricature. To Dam, funk is a way of living, “a feeling of struggle and staying cool through it all.” DāM-FunK grew up in the Los Angeles city/suburb of Pasadena. A ‘70s baby, he came of age in the era of the Uncle Jamm’s Army parties, of electro-pharaoh Egyptian Lover, of Prince’s purple reign. His parents nurtured his musical talents as a child and by his teens, he mastered the drums, then the drum machine. A chance encounter led to an apprenticeship under funk songwriter/producer Leon Sylvers III (SOLAR Records) and by the mid-90s G-Funk era in hip-hop, Dam found his musical skills in high demand by rappers such as Mack 10 and MC Eiht. “Everybody was trying to do the live instrumentation thing, so then you got cats like me playing on records,” Dam explains. Sideman status wasn’t enough though. Dam remembers “watching gold plaques hitting the wall”
for everyone but him and he decided to go “full-funk” and make a do-or-die try to become an artist on his own terms. In 2006, Dam-Funk and a few friends launched the popular Funkmosphere party in L.A., bringing the boogie back. It’s around then that Dam drew the attention of Stones Throw and both label and artist related to Dam’s insistence that “funk is not just a Jheri Curl. There was more than that.”
Kllo is a collaboration between Melbourne cousins Chloe Kaul and Simon Lam. They first emerged in 2014 with a sound beyond their years; fully formed, fusing elements of R&B, UK garage, and 2-step with modern sensibilities and wide-eyed sincerity. The duo's first two EPs, Cusp (2014) and Well Worn (2016), have received millions of streams, making them a fixture on festival stages across Australia (Bigsound, Splendour in the Grass) and Europe (Great Escape, Primavera Sound, among others) as well as Artists-to-Watch features, like BBC Radio 1, Spotify, Elle Magazine, and VICE — the latter saying Kllo is poised
to "very politely take over the world." In 2017 Kllo’s full-length debut, Backwater, arrived; a refined, coming-of-age account. Songs were written partially on the road and developed back in Melbourne at Lam’s bungalow, a haven that harbors creative spontaneity and catharsis. The album depicts inner adjustment to outer change: being far from home, treading through perpetual uncharted territory while yearning for the comforts of the familiar. The LP format finds Kllo with more room to breathe and sync their rhythms with emotions. Kaul’s smoky voice emanates with assurance and leisure. Lam’s production invents brooding, steely undercurrents hemmed with charming crescendos. Their second release on Ghostly International — and their most realized work to date — Backwater celebrates the ephemeral and the enduring changes in emotion, the downfalls and the dissolves.
Cut Off Your Hands
Fall into the colourful rhythm of everyday life, of mums with prams and gym clothes. Of small computers and meal plans. The beautiful sparkle of simplicity, like the sun on the ocean or a car bonnet. Influenced by the likes of Grace Jones and Talking Heads, Cut Off Your Hands explores the vulnerability and joy of living, through the textural and multi-layered sonic wonderland of new singles ‘On The Sea’ and ‘Live For Each Other’. Elements of funk and dance music interweave with the soulful croon of lead vocalist Nick Johnston, constructing vivid and enchanting landscapes in which both the importance of loving each other and the complexities of human relationship are exposed under the guise of head-bopping summer anthems. The band has been working with producer Jeremy Toy throughout the songwriting process, falling in love with old influences and finding inspiration in the candour of self-reflection and
shared human experience that comes from rich relationship with others. The result is a body of work that pairs honesty and vulnerability with tight grooves and colourful melodies. ‘On The Sea’ and ‘Live For Each Other’ will be released alongside music videos in the lead-up to the album drop – a tasty sampler of the finger-licking, foot tapping record to come.
JessB is a passionate and energetic artist of Kenyan descent who is quickly stamping her mark as the newest queen of rap and hiphop in New Zealand. In just 6 short months, JessB has released 2 new tracks - her debut, P-Money produced freedom anthem Soul Free followed by the explosive Set It Off. Between the 2 they have racked up over 300,000 streams and received spins across all major urban, dance and tastemaker stations including Mai FM, Flava FM, George FM and bFM. She opened for Stormzy's 2 NZ shows, and has played Aotearoa's biggest festivals - Rhythm & Vines, Northern Bass and Soundsplash, still to come is her set at Auckland City Limits in March. Continuing to break new ground - she is the first MC to perform on David Dallas's '64 bars' - a RedBull backed project whereby MC's are invited to take the mic and freestyle over a fresh beat. "She came in and handled it first take. She's got a vibe, and she's super confident" says Dallas.
No-one blends the gritty groove of hip-hop with the raw emotion of R&B like Melbourne’s Fortunes. The kiwi ex-pat duo bring intimacy to electronic music and fresh energy to classic soul. A collaboration between producer Barnaby Matthews and vocalist Conor McCabe - both originally from NZ - Fortunes meld layered soundscapes on thick, glitchy bass-lines. Their sound flows with innate groove, and is brought to life by flawless and intimate vocal delivery. Both danceable and moving, Fortunes are an unmissable act. Fortunes have become consistent crowd-favourites for their immersive live performances, and have built an impressive list of supporting slots while headlining multiple shows of their own: playing in Sydney and New Zealand, hosting their Hoodie EP release to an over-capacity crowd, and supporting artists such as SHLOHMO, JMSN, Oddisee, and Vallis Alps.
DJ Tina Turntables has been spinning tunes around the traps for nearly 10 years, she’s co-hosted 95bFM’s Sunday show Back On The Goodfoot for the past 6 years or so, and specializes in a mixed gumbo of old school R&B, Soul, Blues, Funk, Disco, Garage & Rock’n’Roll spiced up with Alternative, Punk, Rock, Pop and Hip-Hop. She’s a regular at Silo Park Cinema, Lovebucket Bar, Golden Dawn Tavern of Power (RIP), Whammy Bar and Auckland Live’s Cabaret Season and also ACL 2018, & DJ’d after parties for Peaches, The Rolling Stones, as well as opening slots for The Black Keys, The Dirtbombs, AK79, Wanda Jackson & Prince.
Early bird tickets go on sale at 9am, Tuesday August 14th from the festival website.
Register at wondergarden.co.nz to be the first in for limited early bird tickets, as well as festival updates, ticket giveaways and further lineup announcements!